Wednesday, November 22, 2006

love

Love takes into account, always, the truly best interest of the one loved. This is clear in 1 Corinthians 13:
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love begins in the heart. But before that, it really begins with God. "We love, because he first loved us." (1 John 3) Love has much to do with grace. If we understand how much we have been forgiven of, then we'll love much, as Jesus said of the sinful woman who anointed his feet with her tears and expensive perfume.

Love means we put up with everything. Putting up here means, really loving those we may not like for certain reasons. And better than that, learning to like them. Or seeking to get to know such a person, so we can find common ground and fellowship together.

Love is inclusive. God's love embraces the entire world. If we have that love of God, our love should do the same. To everyone, period. No exceptions. Oh, by the way, in case we forget, that does include enemies, as Jesus plainly teaches us. We need to live that out among any who intensely dislike, or hate us. Hard, but this is the love God calls us to, in Christ Jesus.

I remember another Christian. He intensely disliked me. And he told others, when he left for another job, that I'm the only one he wouldn't miss. I'm sure he saw me as very disingenuous when I extended my hand to him, his last day, and told him that I'd miss him. I certainly wouldn't miss him continually interrupting me. And his obvious looking down on me. (This was for political reasons, and in this case is more complex. And to keep it anonymous, I won't go into details. But I did make one unfortunate statement early on, that I took back. But I guess the whole package of me was just unacceptable.) But I had reasons I would miss him. A good worker. And most importantly, I saw the grace of God at work in his life. He is a brother, and therefore my brother in Christ. Or even if someone is not, they are my sibling in the human race.

Love. Not easy. Not mere sentiment. Right where we live. With the goal to become friends. True friends together with our Lord Jesus Christ. And in the friendship of God. The goal. But let's start with those, anyone, whom the Lord would bring to his table- which I believe includes, potentially, everyone. To make known to them this special love. That they too may take part in it.

When is it difficult for you to love someone? What can you learn about this special love in the midst of the process to learn to love such a person? How is our faith fundamentally important to understanding this love?

4 comments:

Allan R. Bevere said...

Ted:

Thanks for your words. I appreciate that you start your post with 1 Corinthians 13. I have felt for some time that the chapter is so overused at weddings, we miss its relevance in every context of life.

Have a blessed Thanskgiving!

Ted Gossard said...

Allan,

Thanks. Yes, I find it good to meditate on, to remind me of a big part of what following Jesus in everyday life, means.

Blessed Thanksgiving to you, too!

Susan said...

This is a great post, Ted. I believe something sacramental happens when we extend a hand of love to a person who doesn't love us, as you did for your co-worker. I pray that touch of Jesus' love through you haunts him, and draws him to know real love in a permanent way.

Blessed Thanksgiving to you!
-Susan

Ted Gossard said...

Thanks Susan for your kind and good words.

And a Blessed Thankgiving to you, as well!